Friday, December 31, 2010

A King's Kid


But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. ~Acts 1:8


Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God;Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily. ~Colossians 1:25-29

I just heard these lyrics for the first time today(Thanks to Pandora.com :-) & wanted to share. I thought they were beautiful and went right along with the theme from the message Bro. Graham spoke at HYC last night.


There is a King in You
By: Donald Lawrence & Co.

There is a King in You
You come from Royalty,
An aristocratic dynasty.
The goal of the enemy,
Is that you don't know who you are.
There's power when you speak.
Be mindful of words you release.
I know that life has challenged you,
But the King in me speaks to the King in you.
You were born to rule.
There is a king in you.

Is there no King in you,
Then why do you speak, speak with such defeat.
Is there no King in you,
Then why do you speak, speak with such low esteem.

I know life has challenged you,
But the King in me speaks to the king in you.
You were born to rule.
There is a King in you.


It is my desire to serve God with the confidence of the song above, but with the attitude of the song below. If you have obeyed Acts 2:38 and are living a Godly life, you have the God who created the universe and who died on Calvary for you living inside you. You're a king's kid. Wear the crown proudly!

It's Not the I, but the You in Me

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Death to Self


For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
~2 Timothy 1:7

He has told you, O man, what is good;and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness,and to walk humbly with your God? ~Micah 6:8

There are times when you hear a certain sermon or read a certain passage in a book and know instantly that you have been forever changed by those words. This week I read one such passage and would like to share it with you. It is from the book "Passing the Mantle" by Sis. Joy Haney. In this book both her and various other ministers share both their life experiences and advice for the next generation. I strongly encourage you to read it if you get the chance.

This particular passage I would like to share was written by Sis. Bobbye Wendell, a former missionary to Ethiopia. Upon her family arriving in Ethiopia, the first open door God set before them was that of one to minister to lepers. As a matter of fact, there were over 500,000 lepers in that country at the time (in the'70s). They ended up purchasing and repairing a building near where these lepers were living and began to use the building for teaching them various skills and also as a church building. Up until the point at which Sis. Bobbye Wendell wrote this account from her life, they had seen no true harvest yet from their labor. She had a burden for these people, but also lived in fear of this disease. One day, when her husband brought home a lady with leprosy to be there new house keeper, which meant her working around their children, she told him he had to take her away...The following is what ensued from this conversation and how God dealt with her in a life changing way:

"He said he could not; she had no place to go and would be hurt again. She had been beaten terribly by other beggers. I told him very emphatically that she had to go. He sadly looked at me and said, "You may take her...here are the keys...but will you do something for us?" I asked what it was he wanted. He asked if I would go by Calvary on the way taking her back.

I was numbed. Didn't he know that I had been to Calvary? I had been there before, but it had been to take a soul to Calvary not to lead one away. I started to cry. I took the keys and grabbed my prayer shawl. It was a nice little pink and green shawl made by someone in the Alexandria, Louisiana church as a gift for me on the mission field. I cannot remember the dear one who gave it to me. I used it every service in the chapel church. There were reasons I used it.

I flew out of the house but did not take the lady with me. It was time for something to happen for me. Today would be the day.

The drive to the workshop and chapel was not very far; it consisted of a road, winding down the mountains side and through the village market. The narrow road was crowded with people who seemed to have nothing to do. Every time we drove down without incident was either a tribute to our driving skills or a miracle. This day was no exception, and I arrived safely at the workshop.

It was Saturday. We did not have a Saturday service at this time. Only the guard, Wolde Gabriel, was there. He opened the gate to the property, and I drove in. Wolde had very little of his nose left on his face. His eyes looked sad and a bit wary. He would wonder what I was doing there today. I drove past him to the front door of the building. I exited the car and went into the building. It was the same as the day before, nothing changed. The sameness was the smell.

When you have over one hundred people with various degrees of infection eating away at them...hands, feet, faces, and bodies...there is a cloying, clinging odor that permeates the area. This smell never went away. Soap, disinfectant, and cleaners just added to the strength and tenacity of the smell. A smell of dying flesh, people whose desperate claim to life was: "God made me this way to test the rich man. If he gives me a coin he escapes hell and I will have bread for the day." Do you blame them? They were told they had no soul, they could never inherit heaven, and they were never allowed into the vast compounds of the existing State church.....

I went deeper into the building. The guard, Wolde, remained at the door. His hands, or what remained of them, were held behind his back. They were covered in ulcers. I never touched them. Today was no different. I took my prayer shawl and spread in on the floor. I would kneel on it, pray, and when I went home I would throw it in the washer before using it again. I hoped it would last the length of our first term.

I started to kneel and quite firmly announced to the Lord that I had come to be "broken". With that announcement I went to my knees and started to pray. You do know that heavy smells actually can be tasted and the smell was terrible that day.

I prayed and nothing happened. After a while, as I attempted to get through, the Lord spoke to me and said," If you really wish to have your request (to be broken), then remove the prayer shawl." The thought of my flesh actually touching the floor was overwhelming. Some of the lepers walked barefoot daily over the floors, the smell of their infections entering the plank flooring. I could not do it. I would pray on. The voice came again, "Move the shawl." Finally, I moved the shawl. But the Lord was not finished with me yet.

As I knelt wondering if there was anything worthwhile in me, this fearful person, the Lord spoke again, "Get down." I stooped a bit; the Lord spoke and said again, "Go down" and I stooped lower. Finally, after the third time I tearfully asked the Lord, "I'm down...how much further?" He said,"Until there is no further down." I went down, stretched out on my face and frontal body.

I literally lay before the Lord with weeping. I would feel to turn my face and I would understand that I was to stay as I was. Something was happening. After time, later to judged about three hours, something like a dam broke inside me. Fear of disease and strangeness and filth poured from me. From the lower regions of my body to the flowing out of sounds and words from my mouth, the Lord delivered me. I would never be the same again. There would be a harvest. There would be a church and a people....There would be fulfilment of Psalm 68
:31, my call to Ethiopia. 'Princes shall come out of Egypt; Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God.'

I arose, as a new person, and went out of the building. The guard simply looked at me. I said, 'Wolde, give me your hands.' He held them behind his back. I asked him again, and finally he extended them. I took his hands in mine and said to him, 'You will never have to hide your hands from me again' And he never did.

The foundating of the enemy's resistance was broken that day, and soon we would baptize our first Ethiopians in Jesus' name. In those beginning days of harvest, there were twenty-seven leper people who were baptized in Jesus' name and several received the Holy Ghost. Many other acts of God's mercy were done, and doors began to open to fulfill Psalm 68:31."

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Making a List, Checking It Twice


As most people know, the title to this blog is a reference to the line in a Christmas song about Santa Claus deciding who's good and who's bad...That's not at all what this blogs about...just wanted to get your attention, and with Christmas right around the corner thought that might be the best way. ;-)

Nope, it's about another list...a list in the Bible.


A list that contains nine characteristics every Holy Ghost filled person should exercise at all times:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. ~Galatians 5:22-23

The Amplified Bible defines the fruit of the Spirit as "the work which His Presence within accomplishes"

I like that! But, what exactly do each one of those fruits mean?

Love- unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another

Joy- a state of happiness

Peace- freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions

Longsuffering- patiently enduring lasting offense or hardship

Gentleness- the quality or state of being gentle; especially:mildness of manners or disposition

Goodness-the quality or state of being good

Faith- belief and trust in and loyalty to God

Meekness- enduring injury with patience and without resentment
not violent or strong

Temperance- moderation in action, thought, or feeling

(Merriam-Webster's Dictionary)

So, why have I nicknamed this "The List?" Because, it's MY list. Each time I kneel down to pray, before getting back up, I take out this mental check list, and one by one go through each one. First, I assess how I am doing in each area. If necessary, I pause and focus on one if I am feeling weak at all in that area and pray about it until I feel God revive and strengthen me in it. Then, when I am done, I thank God for them because, while they may not be called "gifts", in my eyes they certainly are!

You might be wondering why I do this or why am I bothering to share it...

Well, the first reason is I think it's a good way to measure the temperature of that fire described in Jeremiah 20:9. Is yours burning like crazy, barely there, or has it been smoldered..with just a subtle sign of Jesus being in your life?

Also, these fruits are the visible representation of Christ in us. When they are active in our lives, it will be very obvious to those around us, both believers and non believers. It's not in the good times that a Christian's fruit shines the brightest, but in the difficult times. If in those times the fruit remains steady and strong and consistent within you, those are the times that that coworker, that family member, that classmate, that friend, that random acquaintance will see Christ in you and will desire to know more about Him.

I encourage you to review this list daily. Never leave it at home. You must take it with you every where you go!

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Battlefield


The Shortest Distance between a Problem and it’s Solution is the Distance between your Knees and the Floor.


I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. ~Abraham Lincoln

Recently I was talking with a friend, doing my best to console her. As I kept my arm wrapped around her while she continued to weep and pour her heart out, my heart too was breaking. Life in shambles. Problem that seems hopeless. As her friend I wanted so badly to have the perfect solution...just that perfect amount of super glue to fix the problem right up. But I didn't. No one does. No one that is but God.

As I sat their hopelessly, watching my friend in such extreme emotional pain, hating herself and life in general, all I could say was "God can fix this" and "I'm going to be praying." Why, when I know how much meaning those words hold, does it still sometimes seem so frivolous when I say them? It almost felt like mockery for those words to be all I had to offer in light of the situation.

But, then I thought of the power behind those words when put in action. I thought of all the marriages I have seen healed. All the people I have seen delivered from cancer. All the bad situations I have seen God turn around and completely restore....then I was reminded of the true power of prayer. And how my prayers ARE the best thing I can ever offer someone.

Prayer is a battlefield. Prayer is where the battle is won or lost. If you don't fight, you don't win. It's that simple. The best part is we do very little; it's God who actually does the fighting. We are simply to call on Him, stand still, and trust Him.

"And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace." ~Exodus 14:13-14

I go to war on my knees,
It's not flesh and blood I battle,
but principalities.
I'm fighting for my loved ones,
and my family.
So, with my face before God,
I go to war on my knees.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Take 2



Never consider any one unworthy. Because you might wake up one day to realize that you have lost a diamond while you were too busy collecting stones...~Anonymous




Recently a coworker and I were made aware of a bakery located in the downtown part of the city where I live...a Bavarian bakery, with a German baker who learned how to bake while still living in her home country. From the second we heard of it we were super excited. I've spent three summers in Europe and have rarely been disappointed in any type of sweet I've had while living there. My coworker had lived on a military base in Germany and claimed Bavarian pastries are among the best in the world. Needless to say, we were both super stoked about checking it out.

So, yesterday morning, I talked my mom into going there with me. Needless to say, one coffee and pastry later, Mom was not all that impressed and already in the mindset that she wouldn't bother going back. While driving home, with a different pastry for my dad, I was thinking about whether or not I had liked it and decided that I'd probably give it just one more chance.

Upon arriving home I gave my dad his pastry and broke out a fork myself to taste it. Needless to say, I am now very much looking forward to returning there...what we bought Dad was one of the best pastries I've had in my whole life! When my mom got home I made her taste it and stood there just to watch her reaction. She absolutely loved it too..I am quite sure now that we will both be going back. :-)

"Take 2": a term often used by producers while filming a production, when the first attempt did not go well and needs to be redone. (Per "Pilgrim's" Dictionary ;-))

I think it's important in life for us to remember sometimes to "take 2". We need to step back and realize that our first impression of a person, be it from personal experience or through the gossip chain (which should be null & void anyway)may be inaccurate, just as easily as our judgements of random restaurants, etc may be too conclusive and perhaps really limited to that particular night in which they were low staffed or had a new cook, or maybe you just ate the wrong thing.

Some judgements may be correct at the time, but remember, people can change. Other judgements can be false from the get go. Just as how in my last blog I talked about how both myself and another person could have been deprived of an awesome friendship, though that time not due to an actual "judgement", so also we can unknowingly be depriving our ownselves of getting to know someone who could potentially become our new best friend!

Always carry with you a little reasonable doubt, should you meet someone who needs to be found innocent. ~Robert Braul


How rare and wonderful is that flash in the moment when we realize we have discovered a friend. ~William Rotsler


I encourage you.... "Take 2"!

Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge.There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another? ~James 4:11-12

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. ~Ephesians 4:29

And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: ~Isaiah 11:3

For all the law is fulfilled in one word, [even] in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. ~Galatians 5:14

Let everything you do be done in love (true love to God and man as inspired by God's love for us). ~1 Corinthians 5:14 (Amplified Bible)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

It's Not a Problem; It's an Opportunity.


Today, while thinking about some of my closest friends, I started trying to remember how I met each of them. Most I don't even remember when exactly I met them. But a few I remember very well, because our friendships began under negative circumstances.

One of my closest friends I met while we were attending IBC together. I didn't know her at all when she asked me, while sitting in a student lounge across from me, "Do you want a new roommate?!" She was in an extremely bad roommate situation. Her and her roommate pretty much couldn't stand each other. I, on the other hand, got along fine with mine, but was wanting to find a better situation, yet not hurt my roomie's feelings. I hadn't told anyone I was feeling this way. I told the girl, "I don't know" and that I'd get back with her. Long story short, I found out through the grapevine that my roommate and her new best friend were wanting to be roomies, so, not even knowing the girl's name,while sitting across from her in the lobby again, I asked her if she still wanted a new roommate...a year and a half later we'd been roommates a year, never fought, discovered we were oddly a like in tons of ways, and still to this day we remain great friends. Her situation was very bad, and mine not so great...but a lifelong friendship came to be because of it.

Another one of my closest friends I met because I was invited by a friend of hers to stay at her house with a group of other people I didn't really know, in a town where our Bible school choral,which I was in, would be singing. I was told she was cool with me joining and so I decided to do it, though I felt a little awkward about it, considering I wasn't even sure who she was, since there were like 5 girls with the same name at our school. Well, it so happened that almost everyone ended up taking different vehicles, due to varying schedules, to drive the 3 hour drive to the city we were singing in. Somehow the girl and I ended up being the only ones who could leave at the planned time. So...we loaded up our stuff and ever since that road trip, that began with me feeling like jumping ship, we have remained great friends.

Another time, while a new freshman in Bible college, a girl who I didn't know from Adam (or rather Eve :-) said a snappy statement in response to my reply to a question an upperclassmen had asked me. I was embarrassed and hurt. Mainly hurt. I didn't understand why the girl didn't like me, when she didn't even know me.

I prayed long and hard about this, telling God I wanted to get along with everyone, and asking him to please heal the situation. Within a week the girl stopped me in the staircase and apologized. She told me she had been jealous of me and that she had liked the person she knew I liked for a while and that she was very sorry for what she did. (The upperclassman had asked who I liked. I had told him I didn't want to say. Her snappy response was "It's not like everybody doesn't know!"..Well, I hadn't known everybody, especially people I didn't know, knew, and I definitely didn't know why she was being rude about it.)

This girl was a quiet somewhat reserved person that few people got to know well during the two years I was there, but I was blessed to get to know her very well...even getting invited into her room to pet her pet bunny that no one knew about (they weren't supposed to be allowed on campus.:-) In the end she even told me that she hoped me and that person would end up together. That didn't happen. (Obviously:-P) But I think that shows just how God turned a bad situation around and made it something great!

More recently I have been blessed to develop friendships with some fabulous people whom I would never have even met probably had it not been for what turned out to be an unfavorable situation that I've had to go through. I know these new friendships are going to be long lasting and have a great effect on my life. And I know, in the end, that I will look back and say, "You know what...ever bit of it was worth it."

Today I overheard my coworker respond to another coworker regarding a "problem" they were working on, "Don't say "problem"; say "opportunity!"

Sometimes in life that's exactly how we have to look at things. Sometimes we have to think, "Wow, this is really messed up, but I bet God can do something really special with it!" If God can give beauty for ashes I believe He can take any situation and cause beauty to come forth from it! Remember we are, after all, talking about the Creater who made man from dust.

Let's not also forget the most obvious opportunities always available: the opportunity to grow and the opportunity to learn.

Problem: source of perplexity, distress, or vexation

Opportunity: a favorable juncture of circumstances, a good chance for advancement or progress (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Born & Ready to Serve


For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers... ~Acts 13:36




How did David spend his life?
He SERVED his own generation BY THE WILL OF GOD.

David, the man about whom many books have been written and about whom more sermons have probably been preached than any other person in the Bible, short of Jesus Christ Himself.

David, the man who, according to 1 Samuel 13:13, was considered a man after God's own heart and who, because of this, was personally sought by God and commanded to lead Israel....spent his life dedicated to doing God's will in serving his generation. The generation he was born to serve.

Apparently David had something very right, which means there's a lot we can learn from his example.

1)He was a servant.

No, this does not contradict his being a king. He was simply the best kind of leader that there is, one with a servant's heart.

2)David sought God's will and then followed it.

No, David wasn't perfect. But he was sincere. And he always knew to turn to God, to listen to Him, and to obey Him.

God knew David's heart when he first called him to lead and that is exactly why He chose him.

He chose him because He saw in him a taste of what He himself would be like when He would come as Jesus, God in flesh, the ultimate example,showing us how to truly love one another and delivering all mankind.

So...What do you think God has in store for OUR generation?!

If we choose to have a servant's heart and listen to and obey His voice, I believe we'll be humbly amazed what He will choose to do through us. I believe it will blow our minds what we are about to see God do!

I'm SO ready! Are you?!

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. ~John 14:12-14

....for I am going to do something in your days that you would never believe,even if someone told you. Acts 13:41

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Scrambled with Cheese Please!


A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. ~James 1:8


Not long ago I watched the movie "Runaway Bride" for the umpteenth time. I've always thought it was a cute movie and besides that I just really like Julia Roberts and Richard Gere together. This last time I watched it though, there was a part that stood out to me in a major way...so much that a few weeks later, I'm still thinking about it.

For those who haven't seen the movie, it's basically about a small town girl (Julia Roberts) who has a fear of commitment and has been engaged 4 (I think) times and is now once again engaged. A big city reporter (Richard Gere), hears about this lady and travels to the small town to do research on her, as well as, he hopes, witness her run again.

As the movie goes on, he interviews each of her exes and one question he asks each of them is how she likes her eggs for breakfast. Each one responds with a certain type (each different), and then says, "same as me". Through this the reporter ends up realizing that the reason she keeps running is because she feels none of these guys really know her for who she is, but rather for who she has molded herself to be...whoever it is that they want her to be.

Later in the movie,it shows her with eggs in every way you can fix them laying out on a table and she is taste testing each of them. A short time later the following conversation occurs between her and the reporter:
Maggie Carpenter (Julia): Benedict.
Ike Graham (Richard): Arnold.
Maggie Carpenter (Julia): I love Eggs Benedict, I hate every other kind. I hate big weddings with everybody staring. I'd like to get married on a weekday while everybody's at work. And when I ride off into the sunset, I want my own horse.


Ok, so I know it's a stretch to connect something out of Hollywood to something spiritual or wholesome....but I'm going to attempt to go there. Grant it, I'm preaching to the choir when I say this, but it is SO important to know yourself. Your likes. Your dislikes. Your personal convictions. Where you are in God and where you're wanting to go in Him.

It's so important to know these things, and not compromise them for anyone. Ever. For any reason. Grant it, people's likes and dislikes are often going to vary and that's perfectly normal and acceptable. But don't give up something you care deeply about or ever try to make someone else do so, unless it's in a positive peer pressure kind of way,in which it would be for their own betterment.

I know the obvious relationship type it may seem that I'm talking about is in dating/ marriage relationships, but this can also apply to friendships, parent/ child relationships, etc.

Proverbs 4:23 says:
Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.


Luckily God has a way of meeting us in the middle when we put forth effort to do what's right...
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ~ Philippians 4:7


Know yourself. Know who you are in Christ. And hold on to and guard that with all your might.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

God Prevails, So Stay in Step!



This particular blog is simply a posting of two things I read recently that spoke volumes to me. I hope they speak to you in the same way they spoke to me. God bless!

Excerpt from the novel "Unspoken", by Francine Rivers:
(There is a part in it where King David is mourning the fact that he has been double crossed by Absalom and others close to him. While trying to decide the wisest decision he can make in this situation, he begins reminiscing about his life):

"Oh, God, I never asked to be king!"
He would have been happier as a shepherd, singing psalms and looking at the stars in the heavens. He would have been happier as a poor man with only one wife.

Men plan, but God prevails.

With a sigh, David stood. "I will trust in you, Oh, Lord. I will trust in you. Do with me as you will."


Excerpt from a devotional posted on EA by James Thornton:
....In order to walk with someone there are two basic rules to follow when you walk or you cannot walk together. One is that each must walk at the same pace. The other, each must walk in the same direction. The same two rules apply when walking with God.

To walk with God Enoch had to walk at the same pace; this meant a moment by moment obedience to God’s Word. Disobedience, neglect, or ignorance of God’s Word would cause him to get out of step. And he had to walk in the same direction God was walking, which would mean a moment by moment surrender to God’s will.

Enoch couldn’t go off in a direction of his own. He had to stop insisting on his own way, or he would find himself off in a direction of his own. Enoch must have discovered that God doesn’t adjust His pace for anyone.

Enoch had to adjust his pace and direction to God’s if he wanted to walk with Him. Surely Enoch, with all his family duties, must have been stressed-out at times but he still took time to walk with God.

Think of the blessing those walks were to God. Since Adam and Eve had been banished from the Garden of Eden, God had longed for a human companion to share walks with. In Enoch, God found that one. Enoch loved walking and talking with God and the walks got longer and longer until one day he walked all the way home with God.

What A Walk!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Ode to "The Unknown Citizen"


Tonight I randomly had a mood hit me to read some poetry. I've always enjoyed reading it and also a loooong time ago used to write it some (Thinking of getting back to this...we shall see).

Below is one of my favorite poems, one that I studied in depth and wrote an analysis paper on in a Lit class in college. I believe it speaks volumes. It is soooo important to be a good person, to do what's right, to be a great citizen, etc... BUT, we must not stop there.

Be the BEST you that you can be. You're not on this planet to blend in with the crowd. God made each of us with special giftings and abilities we need to do whatever it is God has specifically placed each of us here to do. Life should be an adventure, not a daily rerun!

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more ABUNDANTLY. ~John 10:10

The Unknown Citizen
by W. H. Auden

(To JS/07 M 378
This Marble Monument
Is Erected by the State)

He was found by the Bureau of Statistics to be
One against whom there was no official complaint,
And all the reports on his conduct agree
That, in the modern sense of an old-fashioned word, he was a
saint,
For in everything he did he served the Greater Community.
Except for the War till the day he retired
He worked in a factory and never got fired,
But satisfied his employers, Fudge Motors Inc.
Yet he wasn't a scab or odd in his views,
For his Union reports that he paid his dues,
(Our report on his Union shows it was sound)
And our Social Psychology workers found
That he was popular with his mates and liked a drink.
The Press are convinced that he bought a paper every day
And that his reactions to advertisements were normal in every way.
Policies taken out in his name prove that he was fully insured,
And his Health-card shows he was once in hospital but left it cured.
Both Producers Research and High-Grade Living declare
He was fully sensible to the advantages of the Instalment Plan
And had everything necessary to the Modern Man,
A phonograph, a radio, a car and a frigidaire.
Our researchers into Public Opinion are content
That he held the proper opinions for the time of year;
When there was peace, he was for peace: when there was war, he went.
He was married and added five children to the population,
Which our Eugenist says was the right number for a parent of his
generation.
And our teachers report that he never interfered with their
education.
Was he free? Was he happy? The question is absurd:
Had anything been wrong, we should certainly have heard.


A few quotes I thought went well with this...
The death of someone we know always reminds us that we are still alive - perhaps for some purpose which we ought to re-examine. ~Mignon McLaughlin

Life is short, God's way of encouraging a bit of focus. ~Robert Brault

Let us endeavor to live so that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry. ~Mark Twain

When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life in such a manner that when you die the world cries and you rejoice. ~Indian Saying

Every man dies. Not every man really lives. ~Braveheart

And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years. ~Abraham Lincoln


And, in conclusion, one of my favorite passages of scripture :-):
So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? ~1 Cor. 15:54-55

Friday, August 27, 2010

Faith Needs No Back Up Plan



This morning in prayer I was talking to God about some of the specific promises He has given me. Recently I had been struggling with the "walking by faith, not by sight" aspect of believing and standing on God's promises, so, in prayer, I was asking God to strengthen my faith.

At this time, God brought to my attention a blessing that had came to one of my family members just recently. This family member needed a job very badly, wanted a certain one, had applied for said type of position, and was counting on God to answer her prayer for this job. This job was within the school system, was the one thing in the system she was very qualified to do, and it had the exact schedule she desired. She didn't apply anywhere else...and waited..and prayed...and waited.

In all honesty, this frustrated me. I've always been a "have a back up plan" type of person, and, especially in this kind of situation, felt she should have been putting in applications anywhere she could...and I felt very tempted to say so. However, from some personal experiences of realizing that some of the most sincere people trying to look out for your own good can be the worst faith busters, I withstood saying anything...and just prayed right along with her.

Well...God brought just the right close connection into my family's life just in time for the school year to start. This person was in a position in which he had the authority to hire someone for the type of job my family member desired and she is now working for a different school association than she had even originally applied, her work location is just 1 minute from where she lives, and she has an even better schedule than she originally was hoping for.

God had made his point to me loud and clear that faith needs no back up plan. I have learned that one's closest friends and family members can unknowingly play the devil's advocate. Questions like "what if that doesn't happen?", "what if you don't get that job?", etc. are spoken out of honest concern, not wanting to see the friend or family member stuck staring at a brick wall when all is said and done....

But, one must also understand that FAITH MEANS NO PLAN B. That's right. when God speaks something, no back up plan is needed, only faith. As a matter of fact, I believe, when God has truly spoken, that a back up plan is the enemy to faith.

So what about the cases where someone has a back up plan and ends up needing to use it? They didn't end up needing to use it because God "missed that one" or "changed His mind", but rather because their faith waned. The simple fact that they had a back up plan in the first place is evidence of their faith waning.

If God has given you a promise, stand on that promise. Believe Him for that promise. Trust in His Word. Do not fall prey to making a Plan B. I believe "back up plans" insult God's integrity. Ponder what He has spoken, but do not question it, for God's promises are yea and amen. (1 Cor. 1:20)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Good News


These days it seems like everytime I see or read the news it's nothing but bad news...BUT, today I read something that made me smile. Something that I have felt should have happened a long time ago...the article it came from focused on the negative (as news usually does) of those who haven't taken this pledge yet...but I'm choosing to focus on the positive and only post that part. This is from a Yahoo Finance article online:

The Giving Pledge is the brainchild of billionaire businessmen Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. The two of them have teamed up to ask the world's wealthiest people to donate at least 50% of their fortunes to charities. They believe that the richest people in the world can eradicate many of the world's problems through philanthropy. The pledge is not a binding contract but more of a "moral commitment". Individuals are free to donate money to whatever cause they would like. So, far about 40 billionaires have accepted the giving pledge challenge.


The Giving Pledge

Friday, August 6, 2010

Jesus Loves You...This I Know


And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. ~Revelation 12:11

Over the last month I have had the opportunity to have two wonderful ladies share their testimonies with me.

One had received the Holy Ghost at a young age, but her one parent who served God backslid, so she didn't grow up attending church. Later, in her early adult years, trying to escape extreme heartbreak from a broken dating relationship, she ended up flinging herself into a world of drugs and prostitution, and remained there for many years. While sitting on an airplane, headed back to her home town, by order of a judge, she spoke to God for the first time in a very long time, telling Him she liked her life the way it was, but that she knew He didn't, and if He would take this desire away from her, she would serve him again. At that moment she felt a warm sensation inside...as God took that desire away from her for good.

The other lady who shared her story with me shared the testimony of her father. He had been a man called to the missions field, who decided to run from the call. Eventually he began drinking, and a downward spiral began. He would later end up sexually abusing his daughters. Years later that man sat on the back row of a church building...making his way to the altar spouting words of how unworthy he was of God's mercy. That man not only became reconciled with God, but for more than 30 years he served God faithfully. He was the one, when you would visit his church, that would be shouting and praising God every service. No doubt few people understood, when he worshipped like he did, why he worshipped like he did. Little did they realize how much God had done for him.

While I think his testimony is an awesome example of God's mercy, to me a testimony just as great is her ability to be able and desire to share it with such joy. And, the fact that she told me the story because she was sharing her burden for prison ministry...for reaching out to the murderer, to the child abuser, to all those people whom everyone else thinks is hopeless, or undeserving of hope. To me the greatest testimony is the gift of forgiveness God put in this woman's heart.

I shared both of these just to say God loves you. He loves YOU. Now, if you're not living right, He doesn't love your sin; He hates it, and sin will have no place in Heaven. But he loves YOU very much. Very VERY much. He knows you better than anyone else and loves you more than anyone else. He desires to see you living a life filled with peace in Him. He desires for you to spend eternity with Him in Heaven. Jesus Loves You...This I Know. Will you choose to love Him too?

And, if you've already made this choice, are you loving others like He would & are you sharing your testimony like you should?

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Before You Were, God Had a Plan.


Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. ~Jeremiah 1:4-5

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.~Psalm 139:13-16 (NIV)

And now, saith the LORD that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him, Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the LORD, and my God shall be my strength. ~Isaiah 49:5


One of the kids here at The Mansion had the privilege of going to Chili this summer on an Apostolic Youth Corp trip. Every year the General Youth Division sponsors a child from here to go; this year she was the lucky one. I've been in charge of watching her dorm a lot lately, which has provided ample opportunity for her to ask the many questions she has had for me regarding her desire for future involvement in missions. I've came to the conclusion that if this were the only reason God brought me to TCM, to speak encouragement, advice, and direction into this young lady's life, that in itself would have made it all worthwhile.

Today, while looking through her pictures from the trip, my mind took a trip down memory lane...I received my calling to the mission field at the age of 16, and God dealt with me specifically about Europe when I was 21, but my first mission trip, when I was 17, was when I decided that every decision I made there after needed to be in alignment with and in preparation for what God was calling me to do. It wasn't a trip to Europe, but to Trinidad, a country not too extremely different culturally nor geographically from the one this girl I've been mentoring went on, but very different from the place God would later deal with me about.

In this blog, I usually try to steer clear of sharing things God has spoken to me specifically, but, I believe what I am about to share may be important for someone to hear, therefore, I am going to be a bit more transparent than I am normally comfortable with.

Recently God spoke a word of prophesy to me during a service that "There was something I've known possibly my whole life, and that God didn't want me to question it anymore." I knew immediately that it was talking about the calling God has placed on my life. I believe anyone with a calling involving leaving everyone and everything you love and are familiar with is going to question it at least a little. They're going to make sure they have understood 100% correctly. Why else leave it all unless God has truly spoken?!

So, I embraced the point of the message and determined to obey it, but the part that lingered with me was the "knowing it my whole life"...Had I? Was this possible? In my finite mind the "calling" happened at 16. In my finite mind.

A few weeks later, I realized that, while that was when I submitted to God's will, His will, the specific path He had desired for me to walk down, had been in His plans...my whole life. I realized this during a message at Louisiana campmeeting, that Bro. Graham preached. He talked about how when Jesus called Phillip, He was already thinking of Nathaniel: "Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee." ~John 1:48 In Bro. Graham's message he was making the point that, from the time we are born, God has a specific destiny for us...Who was God thinking about when you were born? At the end of the message he asked a few questions...the first one: "What country were you born for?!"

When he spoke those words, it was like, for the first time ever, my entire existence, every year of Bible quizzing, every year of Bible school, exchange students whom I would always "just click with" during high school and college, my first memory of a church service being that of a missionary to China speaking...It just ALL made sense. In one simple sentence,a man who, coincidently(?) had chaperoned that first mission trip I attended, had explained it all.

I don't believe God all of a sudden decides "Ok, this is what I've decided..this is what I want you to do...", but, rather, from the time you are born, the process has already began; it's simply a matter of, when He speaks and lets you in on the plan, if you choose to obey.

In conclusion, I would like to share The Message's version of Psalm 139:13-16...which I have already shared in the NIV:

Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother's womb.
I thank you, High God—you're breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know me inside and out,
you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared
before I'd even lived one day.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Lessons in Cheek Turning


“He who is devoid of the power to forgive, is devoid of the power to love.” ~Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.” ~Mark Twain

I have been staying at my aunt's house in TN this weekend. It's 3:00 am on a Saturday morning and I am wide awake with the thought I am about to write about weighing heavy on my mind. I just went into the living room to look for paper I could write on only to find my aunt sitting there in a chair reading her Bible...at 3:00 am. :-) I would like to claim it was God that woke us up at this odd hour of the morning, but I'm pretty sure her dog barking outside woke her up, and her yelling at said dog is what woke me up. :-P Anyway, for better or worse, here are my 3:00 am thoughts.
Blessed are the peacemakers,for they will be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. ~Matthew 5:9-12

Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. ~Matthew 5:43-48

Since I have been keeping this blog I have had various people email me, sometimes with words of appreciation, and others asking questions, seeking advice. One such time the advice requested was regarding how to deal with someone in the person's church who had hurt them and continued to do so.

My advice? Pray for them. Every day. Indefinitely. At first, I told the person, you will feel nothing or it will be painful, but, eventually, you will feel a transformation inside and soon will be able to speak the words with sincerity.

Prayer will always change you in a positive way, and often it will change the other person as well. However, sitting and trying to watch a rose blossom will only frustrate you. Release the person into God's hands and remember that God changes people on his timetable, not yours.

This, of course, wasn't really the advise the person wanted, but I told them that it's what I do, and I have found that it works. I also encouraged them that, in some situations, it also helps to avoid the person a bit for a while, until things cool down some, but that this is unhealthy if it goes on for too long. Passiveness and "stonewalling" are both very unhealthy ways of dealing with any situation. (I've learned this from personal experience and also from my studies as a Communication Major.) It tends to magnify, rather than shrink issues and leaves both parties "stuck in a rut" so to speak.

So...
Why "turn the other cheek?
Why treat those who treat you like dirt like royalty?

1) Because the Bible says so. (I could stop here & this be enough, but I'll go on...)

2) Because it feels good. No, not at first, sometimes there's a sharp sting of pain when you first do it or when they come back & "slap you" again--But, after that, the realization that you have taken the higher ground &, despite possible responses, chosen to be more like Christ will always feel good in the long run.

3) Read Matthew 5:9-11 again. Notice a pattern? "Blessed..." God will bless your efforts!

4) "..That ye may be the children of your Father which is in Heaven" ~Matthew 5:45
"Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons" ~Acts 10:24
God is not a partial God & we are not allowed to be either. There's one other alternative to being a child of God & that is not an alternative I ever intend to consider, which brings me to the last reason...

5) "For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." ~Matthew 6:14-15

Forgiveness is not just words, it must be words put into action, or it is a lie...
Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. ~Matthew 7:12

God is Love and we, as Christians, must strive to be more like Him, even, and especially, when it involves "turning the other cheek".
And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. ~Mark 12:30-31


Never forget the three powerful resources you always have available to you:
Love, Prayer, and Forgiveness. ~H. Jackson Brown

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tangent!


Tangent: diversion from an original purpose or course

Tonight I heard someone use this word, a word I rarely hear used in this way, and immediately it brought back major memories...Memories of my last 2 years of college & a certain professor that I shall never forget. By the time I graduated I had taken at least 3 or 4 of this professor's classes. On the first day of each of them she would warn her students that she had tendencies to go off on tangents while speaking, and to feel free to raise our hand & yell "tangent!" to remind her to get back on topic.

Now, you would have to understand the personality of this particular teacher. She was a very sweet lady, but was the true definition of a geek. (I'm not being mean. She would even stake claim to this description.) To add to the "geekness", she also lived in the country & had things like pet donkeys, goats, a bazillion dogs, etc. So.....when she went off on tangents, normally no one was going to bring her back, because they were often down right entertaining. However, there were a few times, for example while reviewing for tests we'd be taking the next day, that one of us would do as she said and yell out "tangent!" Usually, she would apologize and then return back to the original topic.

When I heard this word used today though, it brought another thought to my mind. Tangents aren't just diversions in conversation. They can also happen in life. I am thankful for all the ministerial opportunities I have had. All the opportunities I had during Bible college..The mission trips I have participated in...The chance to work at TCM. However, over the years there is something that has greatly pricked my heart: The many people that have told me, "I had felt to go to Bible school, but...". Or "When I was younger I felt God calling me to the mission field, but..." Or, "Working at TCM was always a dream of mine, but..."

"But..." This word breaks my heart. Grant it, many of the reasons have involved something I still desire for my life, getting married & having kids, but I don't want that at the expense of getting off track of the path I know God has destined me to be on. If He decides to bless me and let that be a part of it, it will happen, and it will be God ordained, but I believe that dating someone without the same burdens or desires as myself will lead me straight to a lifetime of saying "but"; therefore I have chosen not to do so.

I don't know, I guess I'd rather have many more "ands" in my life than "buts" if possible. Rather than say, "But I didn't go" or "But I changed my mind", I would much rather have the chance to say "And then God supplied" or "And then God opened that door".

Tangents. Have you ever been on one? Are you on one now? What has God spoken to you about? Did you marry before you had a chance to begin what he was speaking to you about? Have you ever spoken to your spouse about it? Share your dreams & visions with that person. You never know how God may have in the past or may even now be dealing with him or her.

Perhaps you are single. Learn to hear God's voice and to understand what direction He wants to take you. Then commit to only dating people walking in that same direction. Also commit to doing all you can to prepare yourself for whatever He has spoken to you about.

I'm not talking about just callings such as being a missionary, pastor, music director, etc. It could be that God has dealt with you to be a doctor, nurse, military chaplain, etc. Or maybe you are already on a career path and content, but there's a gnawing you continually feel, perhaps to assist at a soup kitchen, help a widow in need, or be a father-like figure to a fatherless child.

Some tangents may take a while to recover from. Others are simply a matter of making a decision, then acting on it.

May you do a better job at living a tangent free life than my professor did at giving a tangent free lecture. God bless.

Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil. ~Proverbs 4:25-27

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

An Unconventional God



The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner. This is the LORD's doing; it is marvellous in our eyes. ~Psalm 118:22-23


According to thefreedictionary.com, to be "conventional" means to be:
based on or in accordance with general agreement, use, or practice; customary: conventional symbols; a conventional form of address.
2. Conforming to established practice or accepted standards; traditional: a conventional church wedding.
3.
a. Devoted to or bound by conventions to the point of artificiality; ceremonious.
b. Unimaginative; conformist


God is nothing like this. We serve a very unconventional God. He doesn't use conventional methods or do things according to the ways men would do them. As a matter of fact, He often tends to do them not just differently, but very differently.

There could be many reason why, one being to teach us to walk by faith, not by sight, because earthly vision alone is often misleading, being only a small piece of the real picture.

Perhaps another reason is to teach us that we have no right in deciding whom God may use, nor where He may use them. Saul, a Jew and murderer of Christians was called to reach the Gentiles. What earthly man would have ever given him that assignment?! Most people would have thrown him in the slammer and left him there. Or stoned him to death. They definitely wouldn't have invited him to come minister to them!(For more on this refer to the blogs "Amazing Grace" and "The People God Writes About")

God created each us with a destiny. Yet another reason God may use unconventional ways may be to teach us to, as the song goes "Let Go & Let God" work it out. This goes back to the concept of "walking by faith, not by sight", but, whereas that concept is merely a concept of "trusting" God, this delves deeper, to the extent of trusting Him enough to not try to create your destiny, no matter how certain you may be of it, but rather to maintain a hands off approach, unless God leads otherwise, and trust Him to open the right doors as they need to be opened.

Psalms 118:22-23 is a prophesy of Jesus Christ and how He would first be rejected, and glorified. Rejected, then glorified! Our own Savior! Not only that, but vs. 23 reveals that this would be "marvelous in our eyes" that He would bother to go through so much to save us. (Marvelous: evoking surprise, admiration, or wonder; astonishing).  This is how God likes to work. I believe He enjoys watching his children marvel!

So what if you were told this about your life? (Rejection then promotion) Would you still be willing to "stick with the program"?

What if someone you knew was a carpenter, fisherman, tax collector, liar, adulterer, murderer, etc? Would you believe God could call or change them in an instant and save, not just individuals, but whole nations through them? Yea, even the world?

What if God showed you specifics of your destiny, would you have enough long suffering (Remember, it IS a fruit of the Spirit) to wait it out, not trying to create your own path? Perhaps sometimes simply doing your best not to make more messes for God to fix?

Yes, we serve an unconventional God. God's thoughts are not our thoughts nor are our ways His ways.

I have been reading quite a few books written by Sis. Freeman lately. Man would never have thought to choose a young man & woman from small town Lousiana/Arkansas to reach a large portion of the continent of Africa. But God did. He ordained it! What about a man from the hills of West Virginia to be an apostle to Thailand? Yep, God again. A dear couple from Wisconsin/ Tennessee to reach the country of Singapore? A God thing. No doubt I could go on forever with this list, but I hope I have already made the point....

Don't put limits on God.
Don't put limits on God's people.

God can do anything through His people, because they are HIS people.

We serve a God who specializes in using unconventional methods to reach a conventional thinking world.

My conclusion as to why He does this?
To make sure when all is said and done that we remember who's in control and to whom all the glory truly belongs!

But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. ~1 Corinthians 1:27-29


Call me foolish. Call me weak. Call me lowly.

Under the umbrella of a loving, unconventional God, I call that sweet music to my ears.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Drop Your Weapons


You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist.” ~Indira Gandhi


Dear Brothers & Sisters in Christ,
Today I want to remind you that unity is SO important...even more now than ever before.



And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the LORD. ~Isaiah 2:2-5


Weapons do not have to be physical or verbal. I've learned through recent years that silence can also be used as a weapon. A very brutal one. Perhaps even worse than verbal. I am guilty, in the past, of having sometimes been on the sending end of this situation. I also know all too well what it's like to be on the receiving end.

One of my textbooks in college,on interpersonal communication, discussed how silence can speak and mean more than words:
"Adults, as well as children, have used the silent treatment in virtually every society throughout history as a powerful tool to express displeasure and for social control. We all know intuitively that communication--the company of others--is one of the most basic human needs and that lack of contact is among the cruelest punishments a person can suffer"(Looking Out, Looking In).

This textbook also has a Newsweek article about a military cadet who, due to having to endure this type of punishment, lost 26 lbs. I highly recommend reading the article: The Silencing. (Sorry, the only place I could find it online was on someone else's blog :-)

Years ago I witnessed something that broke my heart. Actually, it still breaks my heart. My family and other close friends gradually noticed another close friend drifting farther and farther away from our close knit circle. This person started avoiding quite a few people and gradually quit coming to our church. No one had a clue why. And I'm pretty sure just about everyone within this circle wondered if they had done something wrong to offend this person. Eventually it was discovered who had done the offending, but even they honestly had no idea what they had done. They went to this person, told them they were sorry for anything they may have ever done to hurt them, and tried to make amends....Years later, I know very little about this person or their family. They still attend church somewhere, at least I know that their children, who I once was extremely close to, do. But what was originally an awesome team of leaders being used together in a specific ministry was almost destroyed by the harboring of bad feelings, instead of the addressing of them. To my knowledge, the hurt individual has yet to be back on speaking terms with the offender, and the offender never did get a specific answer as to what they had done wrong. I reiterate that this breaks my heart. I love both of these people very much.

The Bible says that this would happen in the Endtimes:

And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another ~Matthew 24:10


The devil's greatest tactic is to provoke disunity among the brethren. If he can do this, he doesn't have to worry about anything else, because "a house divided against itself cannot stand" (Matthew 12:25).

So, while we should be careful not to offend...
Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come! ~Luke 17:1


We should be just as careful to keeps our hearts in the right place, so we are not offended.
Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them. ~Psalm 119:165


So, in conclusion, I challenge all of you to a truce.

According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a truce is:
1)a suspension of fighting especially of considerable duration by agreement of opposing forces
2)a respite especially from a disagreeable or painful state or action

I want to be the first to say that if I have offended you in anyway, I am genuinely sorry. I do not want there to be one Apostolic on this planet that I could not comfortably sit down to have dinner or a cup of coffee with. As the song goes.. "I need you. You need me. We're all a part of God's body. Stand with me. Agree with me. We're all a part of God's body. It is His will that every need be supplied. You are important to me. I need you to survive."

If there is someone you're at odds with, whether due to offenses or judgments, make things right with them. Don't just sugar coat the issue or avoid it and move on. That doesn't fix anything. Work through it or it will still be remaining ever present years later. We are the FAMILY of God. More so than even in earthly families, we are in this together, and we are in this forever.

Drop your weapons & pick up your tools. We've got work to do.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A God You Can Trust


So, here I am, sitting on my couch for the 6th hour in a row...No, it's not because I'm a loser and a bum. It's because my day has went nothing like I had planned. It started out according to schedule: Teach summer school a few hours...then in charge of watching the boys at Parks Hall for a while,...then, well, before that "then" occurred my plans for the day came to a screeching halt. Out of nowhere I became really dizzy and had to call for someone to fill in for me and take me back to my apartment. This is actually the second day in the row this has happened, but last night I was already sitting on my couch when the feeling hit me. So, my evening plans of catching up via phone with a dear friend and mentor didn't happen (slept through the time we were supposed to talk). Packing for my trip home hasn't happened. Nor has some actual packing up I was planning on doing for a soon coming transition happened. All I have accomplished this evening is eating a little and reading a little...and these only if I hold my head veeerry still.

I'm not saying any of this to make you feel sorry for me, no point in that...well, unless you live nearby and want to bring me ice cream or something. ;o) While I've been lying and sitting here bored out of my mind, I have been trying to think positively, instead of thinking about all the random things I should be accomplishing, but can't just yet. This has kind of been a theme in my life lately..thinking and talking positively no matter what.

So, while I was lying here I got to thinking about how thankful I am that I can barely remember the last time I was sick...and how I should have died in a car accident about 3 years ago, but didn't...I wasn't even hurt more than a few bruises. After that I vowed to myself that I would thank God every day simply for the gift of life, no matter how bad things might seem. And I did...for about a year or so. Recently I realized that I had gotten away from that some, and am now working on it again. No doubt 2 years ago God spared my life as well...think I'm the only person I know who's been in 2 car accidents within 2 hours of each other (for the record, I was only driving in one :o). Once again, no injuries. God has truly protected me.

After thinking about all this this evening, and then starting to read, what do I happen to read but the following:
Sickness helps us appreciate health. Failure helps us appreciate success. Debt helps us appreciate wealth. And the tough times help us appreciate the good times. That's just the way life is. I've also learned that our worst days can become our best days. ~In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day
A quote I just read tonight sums this up well, ""Today's thorn is tomorrow's flower."

The author goes on to talk about how he has a birthday he celebrates and a pseudobirthday. When I first read that I was like "Huh?!" Then it made more sense when he went on to explain how that was basically the day he should have died due to a serious medical problem. He goes on to say:
It is difficult to take life for granted when you have almost died. I enjoy life more because I've come to terms with my mortality.
After that first major accident, many people asked me things like "Did you think you were going to die?" "Did your life flash before your eyes?" I was honestly able to tell them "No". I thought "this might hurt!", but there were many promises and words about my future that God had given me and I knew it wasn't my time, because they hadn't been fulfilled yet. God had spoken and when my car was spinning, being hit, and rolling, in His Words is where I found my peace.

God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good? ~Numbers 23:19


What's going on in your life? Has God spoken to you? If so, are you walking by faith or by sight? God doesn't use words to butter you up and make you feel good. When He speaks, it's for a reason. His words are truth and He doesn't throw them around.

I know my best days are ahead of me. I am excited about committing my life to doing what God has called me to do. Recently I was reminded that only through this will I ever truly be fulfilled. Fulfillment in Christ is my soul desire. I've realized I need it more than I need anything else. Hold to Gods promises. You can trust Him like none other. Do what you know to do and trust God to take care of the rest. He doesn't need someone to offer Him advice; He needs a willing vessel.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A Small Cosmos


How much happier you would be,
how much more of you there would be,
if the hammer of a higher God,
could smash your small cosmos.
~GK Chesterton


Recently a pastor & his wife ministered at the church where I attend. Their messages were each titled differently, but went hand in hand. His: "Intentionally Infinite". Hers: "Intentionally Intimate".

He talked about how God created the universe... with sand & stars immeasurable and with a sun more than 100 times the size of the earth. There were many characteristics of our vast universe that he talked about that day, but what inspired me the most was the reason why He said God created it that way: So we would always remember that God can do ANYTHING. That he created the universe and has all control.

Last week I was at the beach and got to do one of my absolute favorite things ..something I usually only get to do once or twice a year, if I'm luckily. I got to sit on the beach that night, by myself, and listen to the waves and think about God and talk with Him. Nowhere else on the planet do I feel any closer to Him than when I sit and stare at that vast body of water that seems to go on forever and hear those waves crash in perfect rhythm against the shore. It is there that I can partially grasp the full reality of how big He really is. It is there that I also am reminded how small indeed I am, and how that doesn't matter because He cares about me and He is the one in control of everything. It is there that I'm remind of Romans 8:28, and how "..all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose."

Returning back to the pastor & his wife who spoke.. after he had concluded speaking, she then spoke on how God is intentionally intimate...how sometimes, whether through fault of our own or through just life circumstances happening, he will let us go through trials for a while, because it is often in trials that we draw closer to him and learn from him..and that your trial will not last forever. Her personal testimony she shared involved a rare sickness, which almost everyone who had ever had it had died. She was sick for many years with it, but God provided 2 miraculous instantaneous healings and she is now doing very well.

The book I am reading,"In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day" shares the following:
Too often our prayers revolve around asking God to reduce the odds in our lives. We want everything in our favor. But maybe God wants to stack the odds against us so we can experience a miracle of divine proportions. Maybe faith is trusting God no matter how impossible the odds are. Maybe our impossible situations are opportunities to experience a new dimension of God's glory.


Now I know I have already mentioned Romans 8:28..but verse 29 is also very important:
For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son...


So what does it take to make an image? According to an article by Elisabeth Elliot:
Michaelangelo made it sound very simple when he said, "All you have to do is take a block of marble and knock off anything that doesn't look like David." But it takes a hammer and a chisel and a file. There will be hammer blows as God takes upon Himself the shaping of each one of us individuals. So there will be some hammer blows, some very big and recognizable crosses in your life, to change the metaphor. Then there is the chisel, which is painful, chiseling off those sharp corners. Finally there's the file, which is probably everyday in one way or another.


She also goes on to remind that any cross God "sends you He has considered with His all-knowing eyes, understood with His divine mind, tested with His wise justice, warmed with loving arms, and weighed with His own hands, to see that it be not one inch too large and not one ounce too heavy for you."

So..I ask you: What does the universe look like to you? Do you just see your universe.."your small cosmos". Are you in the center of it? Or are remembering that you are a part of God's...and that HE is to be the center?

Your universe may have limited resources, but His doesn't.

His also has a greater plan in mind for your life, a greater one than your finite mind can imagine.

No more tunnel vision. It's time to open our eyes to the big picture.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tell Him


When I first moved to TCM, I was bracing myself for anything. You see, I realized that working with teenagers can be tough...and that working with teens who have been seriously hurt and abused would be even tougher. On a personal level, I came with expectations of probably some personal slams occuring against yours truly, merely due to someone having a bad day and feeling the need to lash out at whomever happened to be targetable at the moment. I'm not a pessimist, just realistic. I know that hurt people hurt people and I was mentally & emotionally preparing myself for this. I expected it, was prepared for it, and was prepared to implement the correct disciplinary action (aka: send them to the principal :o)), if necessary, but on a personal level, just try to let it roll off my back...

But now, looking back, I have realized just the opposite has happened. Sure, I've heard more than my fair share of rude negative comments, but hardly any personal attacks...in fact, I think I have received more compliments from these kids in the past 5 months than I've probably received in the last 5 years. I've been truly amazed.

One of my favorite love songs is "Tell Him", a song sung by Barbra Streisand & Celine Dion. The song is a conversation between a mother & a daughter. The daughter is in love with a man but is scared to tell him, for fear of rejection. The mom in turn encourages the daughter to tell the man how she feels about him. The daughter then basically says "you're right", that she better tell him now or she won't be able to live with herself.

I know at this point you're probably thinking "Where in the world is she going with this?!"

You see, God likes compliments too. No, God LOVES compliments. Psalm 22:3 says, "But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel."...God DWELLS in the praises of His people! God loves praise.

So, TELL HIM. Tell Him how awesome you think He is. How in awe you are of Him. How lovely He is. How breathtaking His creation is. Don't put it off. Tell Him TODAY..and tomorrow...and every day for the rest of your life. He likes to hear it. It makes Him happy. It's music to His ears.

Don't be shy...Tell Him.

Tell Him

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Great Expectations


Today, while doing after school care, I saw one of the cutest & funniest things I have seen in a long time. I was watching the kids outside while they were playing on the playground. There were a few squirt bottles filled with ice water for the kids to use, with the understanding that no one's mouth could touch the bottles and therefore the water had to be squirted into their mouths. Eventually 4 or 5 of the kids got thirsty all at once and came over to the cooler to get their drinks, some waiting patiently and other's impatiently for their turn. The older kids insisted that the younger were too young to do it, and so they were helping them...or at least attempting to. Somehow, however, one of the youngest, whose only 4, not only used a bottle on his own, but he actually did it correctly.

Fast forward to a few minutes later..the older kids have the bottles and are standing no where near this child, yet I look up, and there he is...eyes closed, head tilted back, mouth as wide open as he can open it....Obviously this child is expecting some water to be poured into his mouth at any minute. The best part is he stayed in this position for a very long time...and I just stood there watching him...smiling.

I'm honestly not sure if this boy ever did get the water he was expecting...or even know why he struck that pose in the first place. Had someone told him they were going to give him water? Did he just think if he did that, that someone would automatically get the hint and give him some? I have no idea...but I do know that seeing that struck a chord in my heart.

It made me think about God and how I want to have that kind of expectancy with him...that kind of faith. The kind that when I pray about something, I might as well just consider it done.

The look of expectancy I saw on that little boy is the look I want God to see when he looks at me. I assure you, if I had had a water bottle in my hand, that boy would have gotten the water he was waiting on right that minute. How much more does God care about his own children? And how flattering would it be to him to see us with that level of expectancy...that level of faith.

According to God, in the book of Malachi, if we are in right relationship with Him...living like we should & giving like we should, we are given some awesome promises. Why not live expecting them?

...Test me in this and see if I don't open up heaven itself to you and pour out blessings beyond your wildest dreams. (Malachi 3:10 - The Message)

Friday, May 7, 2010

They Which Do Hunger & Thirst


>
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. ~Matthew 5:6


Lately I have been thinking a lot about men & women of God such as J.T. Pugh, Nona Freeman, T.F.Tenney, Joy Haney, etc. Pretty much since the time I started keeping this blog I have been reading anything and everything I can get my hand on that's written by people of this caliber. I have developed an unquenchable thirst to understand how their walks with God became such as they were/are.

Often I have heard people refer back to certain bygone days as "back in the tent revival days", as if the miracles & revivals seen then are exclusive to that time. And I have heard references to the revivals in Africa, as if they're exclusive to that continent and not to be expected to occur elsewhere...

This is wrong. This is shallow. And I refuse to believe it or to accept it.

These amazing stories are not selective to a certain time or place. They are merely a result of God's children being willing to sacrifice, caring more about seeing God move than about anything else on this earth.

One day this week, in the Bible class I've been teaching to Jr. High students, I taught on miracles. Having read a great article from the UPCI World Network of Prayer Website by Sis. Lisa Marshall, I felt inspired to share it with them. She had written about how the saints of God used to gather for a "season of prayer", an indefinite amount of time in which they would pray until something happened, then they started meeting for a "time of prayer",a set amount of time, such as 5-8 pm, and "if God was going to move, it best happen during that time."..we started giving God time limits. Now we have reached a time where sometimes in services we simply pause for "a moment of prayer". This is very sad and I am convinced this has been reflected in the gradual lessening of miracles and healings that we have been seeing through the years. This must change and it must change now.

I then went on to read to the students random miracles Sis. Nona Freeman had written about in her book "Everything's Gonna to Be Alright!" By the time I was done, many of them were in awe & a few actually wanted me to keep reading.

The next day I taught on prayer, referring to & expounding on another article Sis. Marshall had written on hinderances to prayer. (VERY good article) And then talked to them about if we want to see miracles like "that lady" did,then we have to pray like "that lady" did. (Many of these kids hadn't heard of her until I told them these stories since many of them haven't been raised in an Apostolic church...or oftentimes any church at all.)

You see, through reading these books I have realized (well I already figured, but just needed to be reassured :-)that these people weren't born "super spiritual" with their own personal, way quicker & clearer than everyone else's, ultra-special, direct line to God....at least not more so than anyone else who's ever been born. They too had to grown in their walks with God & in their faith. They too had moments of frustration & moments of weakness in faith. However, each time things seemed hopeless and they saw God work, their faith grew and their faith strengthened.

I've came to the conclusion that each & every one of us can be used by God as much and to whatever extent that we desire to be. The only questions are: how bad do we want it & what are we willing to do about it?

I don't know about you, but I hunger. I hunger to dig deeper into God's word. I thirst. I thirst to glean from the numerous men & women of God who know much more than I do & have experienced much more than I have. I hunger. I hunger for longer conversations with God filled more with Him speaking & me listening, versus me speaking & Him listening. I thirst. I thirst to go wherever He wants me to go and do whatever He wants me to do.

However...
I may be hungry & I may be thirsty...but there's a world that's starving. It's starving spiritually. They're eating whatever they can get their hands on, yet every morning they still wake up with the same sick, empty filling, deciding "Tomorrow I'm going to try something else." And often, they do...and yet still wake up to that same feeling. Why not offer Christ and let Him be the next thing they try?

I hunger & I thirst to assist God in feeding this starving world.

So what about you?...What are YOU hungry & thirsty for?

And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live. ~Deuteronomy 8:3


And gavest them bread from heaven for their hunger, and broughtest forth water for them out of the rock for their thirst, and promisedst them that they should go in to possess the land which thou hadst sworn to give them. ~Nehemiah 9:15


Luke 6:21
Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.